Review of Kindle edition of this time travel romance, first published in 1997 by Bantam Loveswept
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition
Pages: 290 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Terrorists have stolen the time machine of 42-year-old, brilliant scientist, Chuck Della Croce. In the midst of attempting to assassinate him, they murder his best friend and bodyguard, as well as the woman Chuck has secretly loved for seven years, Maggie Winthrop, who takes a bullet for him and dies in his arms. Chuck evades the pursuit of his enemies, who have stolen the latest version of his time machine, and escapes into the past using the earliest prototype of his machine. He had aimed to land in the past shortly after he and Maggie first met in order to change events and reverse her murder, but two problems arise. First, the early prototype has sent him to the past stark naked, and second, it was slightly off on its dates and Chuck has landed in Maggie’s yard shortly prior to their first being introduced. As a result, Maggie has no idea who the blood-caked, wild-haired, naked man is who is pounding on her door, and she assumes he’s a madman who needs to be locked up for his own safety, and hers.
Bestselling romantic-suspense author Suzanne Brockmann wrote this time-travel romance for the Bantam Loveswept romance line in 1997, when she was still writing short contemporary romance novels. Her use of a time machine was then, and remains until this day, a daring choice for contemporary romance. I can myself only recall one other romance author who has done this, Susan Sizemore in her first novel, Wings of the Storm. The prevailing reasoning for this artistic choice is that romance readers are bored by the technical details of scientific hardware. Also, by using magic instead of a time machine, the author can make the time-travel one-way, thereby eliminating the mind-warping paradoxes which are a crucial and inevitable element of plotting when a science-fiction author employs a time-travel machine.
This book is certainly full of time-travel paradoxes, though not as (to me, anyway) utterly weird and unbelievable as the main one in the well-known time-travel saga, The Terminator. In that movie, an already-existing adult male, John Connor, sends his already-existing adult friend, Kyle Reese, back in time to save his mother, Sarah Connor, at a date prior to his conception, whereupon Kyle proceeds to impregnate Sarah and become John’s father. My attitude to this paradox was, and still is, “Are you kidding me?” I never had moments of stunned, irritated disbelief like that when reading Brockmann’s story.
The most compelling part of this book, something I hadn’t forgotten 15 years after originally reading this book as I re-read it recently, is the image of a sexy, naked man landing in the heroine’s front yard. The concept of naked time-travel only bothers me if it isn’t well motivated–which is another problem I have with The Terminator. I don’t see any logical reason for a robot to arrive naked after time-travel. If machine parts can come through, why not clothes? In this book, the nakedness is motivated sufficiently as being caused by an early prototype of the time machine which, presumably, could only transmit animal matter. In The Terminator, the nudity was no doubt included because it is both a shocking image to men in the audience, and a visual treat to the women and gay men in the audience to view Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gorgeous, ripped physique of 1984. In the case of this story, Brockmann can also be excused for choosing to follow in the footsteps of the Terminator’s nude-time-travel tradition because it creates an utterly memorable and enthralling “cute meet.” The purpose of a romance novel is to immediately establish sexual sparks, and it is extremely sexy to have the handsome hero frantically pound on the heroine’s door, gloriously naked with mussed hair and the body of a male model.
Finally, another daring thing for the contemporary-romance genre that this book includes is a romantic triangle. This is a huge “no-no” for the contemporary romance genre and always has been. Romance fans are not ultimately upset by it, however, because the triangle is a faux one in that the two men involved are the same guy, 35-year-old Charles and 42-year-old Chuck. The problem of Maggie falling in love with two versions of one man–and each version being jealous of his other self’s physical relationship with Maggie–is quite cleverly resolved by Brockmann in order to arrive at the classic happy-ever-after ending that is an essential element of every romance novel.
I read this book in a Kindle ebook version, which is well formatted and edited.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 5
Time-Travel Plot: 4